China still shut

There some signs it is getting worse not better. If anything, traffic congestion has trailed off:

Capital Economics has more real time activity charts:


It’s going to be a slow and halting recovery at high risk of reversal as viral outbreaks return.

Links from Sinocism:

1. The outbreak

Sharp fall in new Chinese coronavirus cases, but is it only because of new counting method? | South China Morning Post

China’s National Health Commission announced 394 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the lowest figure in weeks, after it changed the diagnostic criteria to exclude patients who were “clinically diagnosed” by methods such as CAT scans.

Whopping rise in infection at Beijing hospital puts capital on alert – Global Times

According to a table which compares the “infection density” of cities or areas — the number of confirmed cases per square kilometer —Xicheng district ranks second, with an infection density just lower than the epicenter Wuhan.

Cases in Beijing are creeping up – 北大人民医院老年科病人确诊新冠 多家医院出现疫情_财新网_财新网


Comment: Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi must be nervous. Xi will not be kind to him if he can’t control the virus in Beijing.

Chinese authorities stress protecting, caring for medical workers – Xinhua

The meeting of the leading group of the CPC Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which is headed by Li, also demanded efforts to ensure the supply of protective gear for frontline medical workers and better benefits such as allowances for them.

The meeting stressed putting effective drugs into wider clinical use to improve treatments and rolling out measures to encourage recovered patients to donate their plasma.

The coordination between epidemic control and economic and social development should be strengthened, with more targeted and precise prevention measures taken to facilitate the resumption of business operation, according to the meeting.


Caixin reports that a Wuhan nursing home has several suspected cases.

Coronavirus Infections May Recur, Expert Says – Wuhan

Wang Chen, a renowned respiratory expert and vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday that outbreaks of the disease known as Covid-19 could keep occurring in the future in a similar way to seasonal flu.

Wuhan Diary #23: The 27th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 18, 2020 | 高大伟 David Cowhig’s Translation Blog

Thinking back to what I was like twenty-odd days ago, so very passive and wishing that I could die straightaway and solve all life’s problems, it felt so very much like a dream. Life is beautiful. This winter many have died. Now may those us who have survived really live.

Man killed by coronavirus had organ damage similar to that caused by Sars, study finds | South China Morning Post

Pathological features of Covid-19 greatly resemble those seen in Sars and Mers, say researchers in Beijing, who used samples from 50-year-old

29 foreigners in China infected with novel coronavirus – China Daily

Among them, 18 had recovered and were discharged from hospital, two were dead and nine are still under quarantine and treatment, said Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary general of the State Council, China’s Cabinet.


Li Keqiang held another Leading Small Group meeting to discuss measures combatting the coronavirus. The meeting repeated Xi’s instructions to give medical workers more protection and care, and said should increase the salaries and bonus for doctors and nurses.


China Youth Daily reported that before Jan.16, hospitals in Wuhan had been using the diagnosis standards issued by the Wuhan Health Commission, which wrongly pinned the coronavirus to the Huanan Wildlife Market. That made it impossible for the doctors to confirm infected cases with no exposure to the wildlife market. The mistake was only corrected later when the National Health Commission stepped and relaxed the standards.


Wuhan dumped nearly 1963.58 tons of disinfectant to make sure the coronavirus do not spread through the sewage system. This comes after research shows the virus can survive in human feces.


After being accused by some for manufacturing leaking the coronavirus, the Wuhan Institute of Virology issued a letter to its staff saying that it has nothing to hide.

2. Economic impact

China to alleviate social security burden on employers – Xinhua

Companies of all types in Hubei Province, the hardest-hit region, as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises elsewhere, will be eligible for a waiver of the above-mentioned contributions from February to June, said You Jun, vice minister of human resources and social security, at a news briefing Thursday.

Large companies will see their contributions halved from February to April.

The reduced contributions to social security premiums are expected to top 500 billion yuan (about 71.4 billion U.S. dollars), according to You.

China able to pay old-age pension on time, in full: official – Xinhua

China is able to secure the payment of old-age pension on time and in full despite the fact that the supportive policies of fee reduction may cause revenue losses to the pension fund, said Yu Weiping, vice finance minister, on Thursday.

China to halve employers’ medical insurance contributions – Xinhua

On the premise of ensuring the medium- to long-term balance of fund payments, companies will see their medical insurance contribution halved for no more than five months, starting from February, said Chen Jinfu, deputy head of the National Healthcare Security Administration, at a press conference Thursday.

The reduced contributions to medical security premiums are expected to free the enterprises with 150 billion yuan (about 21.4 billion U.S. dollars), helping coordinate the epidemic prevention efforts and the economic development, according to Chen.

China Benchmark Loan Rate Drops After PBOC Eases Policy – Bloomberg via Yahoo

The one-year loan prime rate was lowered to 4.05% from 4.15%, according to a statement from the central bank on Thursday. The five-year tenor was set at 4.75%, down from 4.8%. Earlier this month, the central bank cut the rates on its short-term funds and one-year loans to commercial lenders…

The decline of 10 basis points in the one-year LPR was in line with expectations, while the smaller drop in the five-year rate indicates the central bank has no intention of changing its stance on property policy, said Raymond Yeung, chief China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd

People’s Bank of China will help the country recover quickly from coronavirus | Financial Times $$ OpEd by Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China

The contagion has exerted some downward pressure on China’s economy, but it will not last long. Supported by a resilient economy and ample room for policy adjustments, the People’s Bank of China expects a quick recovery after the outbreak is contained…

As the postponed consumption and investment activities resume, the economy is expected to experience a compensatory recovery. The Chinese economy is expected to recover rapidly as it is supported by a restart of factories and inventory replenishment; the most likely scenario is a V-shaped curve, which means a decline in economic activities followed by a rapid recovery, with the total economic impact relatively contained.

Foxconn says cautiously resuming China output, warns coronavirus will hit revenue – Reuters

Foxconn, the world No. 1 contract manufacturer, also said its plants in countries such as Vietnam, India and Mexico continue to operate at full capacity with expansion plans under way as it seeks to minimise the impact of the virus…

The company, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, hopes to have production levels in China at half of normal levels by the end of February, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters last week.

Manufacturers entangled in logistical nightmare as virus-hit China limps back to work – Reuters

The shortage of workers at Chinese ports has resulted in fewer calls from container shipping lines, a situation likely to result in months of delivery delays, while some air cargo firms such as Lufthansa have reduced services in response to crew health concerns and uncertain demand.

FedEx Corp told Reuters it was starting to see a slow pick-up in demand and that it was in discussions with many local governments as there were different restrictions in different cities.

央地联合发力 促消费政策再加码 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站

Xinhua’s Economic Information says it has learned that central and local authorities are about to role out policies to stimulate consumption, including for the auto sector


Yicai Global – Shanghai Banks Extend USD187 Million in Special Loans to Key Firms Tackling Virus

The average interest rate was 2.35 percent, Li Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Local Financial Supervision Administration, said at a news conference today, adding that after state subsidies, the actual borrowing cost will be much lower than 1.6 percent

P&G expects coronavirus outbreak to hit current-quarter revenue, profit – Reuters

The company’s supply side has come under pressure, as it relies on 387 suppliers in China that ship more than 9,000 different materials, impacting about 17,600 different finished product items.

China Tells Farmers Not to Miss Planting Season Despite Virus – Bloomberg

“If we miss the planting season, we’ll be unable to make up for it, which will have an impact on the economic foundation and social stability of the whole year,” Li said in a release posted on the government’s website on Wednesday. “We are holding the rice bowl for 1.4 billion people in our own hands.”

IATA – COVID-19 Cuts Demand and Revenues

In this scenario, that would translate into a $27.8 billion revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region—the bulk of which would be borne by carriers registered in China, with $12.8 billion lost in the China domestic market alone.

Ping An warns of coronavirus hit to life insurance | Financial Times $$

“Obviously, with the virus it’s more difficult for [agents] to do face-to-face business,” said James Garner, Ping An’s chief capital markets officer. “Sales and productivity [in life insurance] have seen a marked decline.”

Goldman says market underestimating coronavirus risk: ‘Correction is looking much more probable’ – CNBC

“We believe the greater risk is that the impact of the coronavirus on earnings may well be underestimated in current stock prices, suggesting that the risks of a correction are high,” strategist Peter Oppenheimer wrote in a note.

3. Back to work vs. risk of new infections

Worker Infections Highlight Corporate Balancing Act as Employees Return to Jobs – Caixin

Recent Covid-19 infections among workers at a Chongqing mineral producer and a Beijing e-commerce company reflect difficulties many Chinese firms are facing as they try to balance safety and productivity on resuming business after an extended Lunar New Year holiday…

The more serious of the cases began last month at a plant making titanium oxide, a mineral often used as a coloring agent, in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. The unit of Pangang Group has since been shut down completely, idling hundreds of workers, after a cluster of at least three infections occurred at its facility in the city’s Ba’nan district.

The other case at e-commerce firm Dangdang also dates back to last week as employees were returning to work following a Lunar New Year holiday that was originally set to end Jan. 31. Since that case involving a single worker emerged, all of the company’s employees have been asked to work at home, several company sources told Caixin

As China Fights the Coronavirus, Some Say It Has Gone Too Far – The New York Times

While China must stop the outbreak, they argue, some of its methods are hurting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people while contributing little to the containment effort.

“Strike a balance that is conducive to protecting lives,” wrote James Liang, the executive chairman of, China’s dominant online travel agency, in a widely circulated essay this week.

Hospital coronavirus clusters hit Beijing’s plans to get back to normal | South China Morning Post

The city had hoped to ease restrictions on movements and a ban on public gatherings that forced schools to shut down, but the new case, coupled with the news that the number of infections at the other hospital had risen to 36, means they are likely to have to put these back.

The new hospital outbreak was first confirmed in a female inpatient at Peking University People’s Hospital on February 18…

The infection at the People’s Hospital came as the number of cases at the second hospital cluster in the capital rose to 36…

Those infected in the Fuxing Hospital outbreak include eight medical staff, nine other hospital workers and 19 patients and their families. An unknown number of cases has also been reported in a neighbouring residential area…

“We need 14 days with no new cases before ending [the measures]. The hospital infections definitely affect that prospect,”

China’s Wenzhou city to re-open entrances and exits of highways after coronavirus lockdown: government statement – Reuters

China’s Wenzhou city will re-open entrances and exits of highways, and cancel some highway checkpoints to support economic recovery

David Llewellyn-Smith
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